Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

ECOMOBI Report Summary

Project ID: 777888

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECOMOBI (Eco-friendly Modification of Bitumen (ECOMOBI). Recycling end of life tyres into an efficient bitumen modifier)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Tecnofilm is a leading Italian company specialized in the production of functionalized polyolefins and specialty compounds. We have over 45 years of experience in the sector and count with an expert team of 45 technical and sales experts. Tecnofilm is committed to the research, development and commercialization of eco-friendly compounds, helping to minimize the environmental footprint of our customers.
Every year, polymer modified bitumen (PmB) producers generate over 10 million tons of PmB globally to increase road pavement performance. By 2022, the global PmB market is expected to reach over €12.5 billion. Available bitumen modifiers are either expensive (SBS, the most widely used bitumen modifier has averaged 2€/kg in the last years) or inefficient (plastomers, recycled tyre rubber).
Tecnofilm has developed RD PRENE, an innovative recycled tyre rubber (RTR) based bitumen modifier (already protected by a patent) that will provide PmB producers with a superior performance, affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to current bitumen modifiers. PmB producers substituting SBS by RD PRENE will save up to 45€ per ton of PmB. RD PRENE provides up to a 50% longer road service life and reduces traffic noise in a 50% when compared with SBS. Moreover, it eliminates the need for additional processing, reducing energy and personnel expenses and since it is based on recycled end of life tyres (ELTs), our customers will reduce their environmental footprint, boosting their corporate image.
We have produced a pilot scale version of the compound and tested it in commercial bitumen blends. Through the ECOMOBI project, Tecnofilm aims to bring RD PRENE into the market and make a difference by providing a valuable recovery alternative for ELTs.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

First of all, we selected and studied a wide range of raw materials in order to find the suitable products for the trials, keeping into account the performances, availability, prices and workability of the materials.
Then we tested several formulations in our lab in order to study and optimize the production parameters. In connection with the scale up plan, our specialists worked on the production line to prepare and verify the whole industrial process. Moreover, we made the line quite flexible to double the production capacity in the near future when we will need to face an increase of the market demand.
In this way, a dedicated area of our plant is used for the production of RD PRENE.
Finally, some selected formulations have been tested on a bitumen to verify the properties of the PmB.
The best formulation has been tested in accordance with the specific requirements of one of the first customers ready to try our innovative compound. We got a PmB with a cost saving, according to the requests. Moreover, we produced and tested a first hot mix asphalt specimen, matching the requirements of the local highways.
Even if the results are already positive and promising, we will continue the fine tuning of the formulations and production parameters in the coming months.
While the technical development was going on, Tecnofilm team worked on the commercialization, communication and dissemination strategy in order to bring RD PRENE into the market. We have identified the impact and benefits reached by our solution, updated the market trends in terms of end users’ needs and interests, market size and revenues, defined our target customers and distributors in order to create connections and achieve new collaboration agreements with industrial companies. At the same time, we prepared technical documents and presentations to support our activity of dissemination that will be the focus of the Period 2.
Meanwhile, during Period 1, we have already reached a wide audience through our meetings, company visits and website, where the ECOMOBI project has been published.
In conclusion, we can state that we have successfully reached the targets of the first period of the project.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

RD PRENE offers a bitumen modifier to producers, which is perfectly aligned with the current EU and industry trends. RD PRENE will provide our end users with the following unique features:
• Reduced production costs: Thanks to reduced raw material costs and increased processability, PmB producers implementing RD PRENE in their production lines will save up to 45€ per each tonne of PmB they produce, resulting in significantly lower production costs and therefore higher margins.
• High performance bitumen modifier: RD PRENE modified bitumen properties (consistency, storage stability) are in line with those of bitumen modified with more expensive SBS. In addition, RD PRENE modified bitumen increases road service life in over 50% and reduces the traffic noise in a 50%.
• Environmentally friendly technology: RD PRENE finds a profitable use for ELTs while reducing the need for petrol-based bitumen modifiers (SBS). Through implementing RD PRENE in their PmB production, our end users will significantly reduce their environmental footprint and improve their corporate image.

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